Background: Cyclosporine (CsA) nephrotoxicity may prolong duration of anuria in renal transplant patients with delayed graft function (DGF). Thus, many Transplant Centers tend to delay CsA treatment in order to accelerate renal function recovery. Methods: In this single-center, retrospective analysis we compared the outcomes of 40 renal transplant patients with DGF given a CsA-based (n = 17) regimen since the day of transplant or a CsA-sparing regimen (n = 23) based on early treatment with rabbit anti-human thymocyte globulin (RATG) and delayed CsA administration. We studied all patients with DGF who received a first or second graft at the Bergamo Transplant Center from January 1992 to March 2000. Results: Patients given RATG as compared to those on CsA had significantly shorter duration of anuria (11.0 ± 5.6 vs. 19.6 ± 8.9 days; p < 0.005) and of initial hospitalization (17.4 ± 4.3 vs. 27.4 ± 10.4 days; p < 0.001). Throughout the whole study period, 4 patients on RATG as compared to 6 on CsA had an acute rejection episode (p > 0.05). However, no patient on RATG as compared to 4 on CsA had an acute rejection during the anuria period (p < 0.05). Costs including hospitalization, dialysis treatment and study drugs were significantly lower in RATG than in CsA patients (EUR 29,944 ± 7,281 vs. 36,795 ± 13,656; p < 0.05). Conclusions: In renal transplant patients with DGF, early RATG treatment with delayed CsA administration accelerated renal function recovery and patient discharge, prevented occult rejections throughout the anuria period and significantly decreased the treatment costs.